From: Central Coast Brewing, USA, California, San Luis Obispo.
Style: Dark Rye IPA. 7.5% ABV, 77 IBU
Source: Ales By Mail
Tues 26 Aug. Kid brother flips a significant digit
I don’t know what Autumn is like in San Luis Obispo, California, but I’m guessing it’s warmer than a rainy August bank holiday in England. Or indeed a sunny one. No matter, because my latest choice from the Ales By Mail US Beer Club box reminds me of Autumn and imminent arrival of the richest, tastiest, best food of the year.
The natty can doesn’t let on what style Catch 23 is, it just says “”Excessively hopped high gravity ale. Rye & roasted malts”. I say, to start with, it’s ebony/black with a espresso crema head, once it’s calmed down. The aroma is all pecan pie: roasted nut and caramel with some piny/citrus hops trying to get through.
Trouble is, once you’ve tasted it, trying to define the aroma is tricky. The flavours in the mouth linger and dominate, diminishing my olfactory capability, captain. Not like that’s a bad thing. Roast and pine. Not burnt roast, but a just-turned chestnut and toffee apple. Sound like Autumn to you?
How excessive is “Excessively hopped”?
…As it says on the label. I don’t think it’s excessive. It’s a bitter beer, but the contribution of dark toffee flavours from the roasted malts contribute a fair bit on their own to countering any malt sweetness. Not a hop lemon-sucking fest, just a long-lasting bitterness and rye spiciness. Oh, actually, that is quite bitter.
So what is this? A dark rye ale? A black rye-(I)PA? It doesn’t matter, but what does matter is it is big, powerful and attention-grabbing, like a good Malbec or a Cotes du Rhone. It’s as full-bodied too, but really, lucsiously silky, and warming at 7.5% ABV. Strong, but only a little over half of what one of those wines might be.
The origins of the name “Catch 23”? I don’t know. Is it a Spinal Tap Catch 22? Just one crazier.
Food pairing suggestion. I think of roast pork for dark, malty beers, especially slow-cooked shoulder. The piny hoppiness of the beer means this would stand up to any amount of the ubiquitous craft beer dish: pulled pork, especially if it had a sweet, sticky, smoky sauce. Or try any similar American-style, low and slow barbecue. Richly-flavoured autumnal beef casserole would work a treat, too.